At Eden Advertising, some of our best clients have come through referrals. Our goal, with every project, is to provide the best advertising solutions and service to our clients, and in doing so, they are more than willing to share the secrets to their success.
Word-of-mouth is the oldest and most successful form of advertising. Unlike other promotional and advertising methods, consumers are more likely to be influenced by a referral because they see it as honest and void of ulterior motives. With the internet and the sudden surge of social media, word-of-mouth is starting to see a whole new platform.
Online word-of-mouth has many benefits to both consumers and businesses. It’s not only an easy way for consumers to share, but it’s a great way for businesses to track what people are saying. Online word-of-mouth spreads much faster than traditional methods, and it has the potential to reach large numbers in a short period of time. It’s also a great way to stay ‘top-of-mind’ in your social network, on a regular basis.
BrightLocal, a search engine marketing firm based in London, UK, decided to explore the increasingly popular world of word-of-mouth marketing. They surveyed local consumers in the US, Canada, and the UK, asking them questions about their consumer behaviors in regards to small businesses.
Most people would believe that online word-of-mouth doesn’t have the same effect as traditional face-to-face interactions. However, BrightLocal’s survey discovered that this was not the case. They discovered that 72% of consumers surveyed would trust online reviews just as much as they would a personal recommendation. They also found that 52% would be more likely to use a local business based on a positive online review.
Due to the very nature of word-of-mouth marketing, you can’t force people to talk about your business. However, you can help start the conversation and give them something to talk about. Here are a few tips to get the conversations started.
6 Tips to increase online word-of-mouth:
1) Provide a great service
First and foremost, if you want people to spread the good word, provide a service they can’t help but talk about. 65% of survey participants said that they would recommend a business if they felt it provided a professional and reliable service. They also indicated that good value and friendliness were key factors in their potential reviews.
2) Offer Incentives
35% of survey participants indicated that they would recommend a small business if they felt they could personally benefit from doing so. Offers and discounts are a great way to do this. Providing coupons through facebook, twitter, or email blasts is an effective way to connect with consumers and bump up your business in their mind.
3) Provide an engaging Online Presence
With an engaging and interactive online presence, consumers will be more engaged and more likely to share what you have to offer. It all starts with a great website. It’s important to provide valuable, insightful, meaningful or even emotional content – from quick facts and articles, to engaging images and captivating videos. If your landing page doesn’t immediately grab users, they’ll leave and explore other sites. It’s also important to be engaging on social media. It’s not enough to have a facebook or twitter page. It needs to provide relevant, interesting content that consumers want to view and share with others.
4) SEO, Mobile & Social
a) Make sure that you are easily accessible when people are looking for you. With a site that is search engine optimized, those searching for your information will be able to find you quickly and easily.
b) Make it mobile friendly. With the increase of smart phones and iPads, people are spending more and more of their time online through their mobile devices. It’s important to ensure your site is optimized for mobile use in order to engage more users conveniently through their mobile products.
c) Make it social. People spend a significant amount of their time online through social media. Popular social media sites like facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, etc., are great places to catch consumers where they’re at. Make sure you link to your social media pages from your website and vise versa to become more accessible to consumers through appropriate social media channels.
5) Make it easy to share
Individuals rarely go out of their way and spend a lot of time looking for ways to share your content. You need to make it easy for them. Providing ‘share’ buttons on the pages, images, videos, or content you want them to share. One of the great things about social media sites is that they already have all the necessary sharing buttons and tools to help make sharing and word-of-mouth very quick and simple.
6) Ask for Referrals
If you have products on your site, include a ‘Reviews’ section so that people can review and rate products, or post your business on a directory or portal where it can gain valuable reviews on that network. If you have a B-to-B business, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile and every time you complete a job and have a very satisfied customer, reach out to that customer and ask for a friendly referral on LinkedIn. Most clients will be more than happy to post a review on your behalf if they’ve had a great experience.
With these tips, your business is sure to be the topic of conversation, and gain priceless word-of-mouth referrals.